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Der kurioese Bibliotheksbote worinnen zu finden sind allerley newe Zeitungen

Weblogs: Wissenschaftskommunikation mit Massenartikeln

David Rosenthal beschreibt in einem sehr lesenswerten Blog-Beitrag, warum Weblogs jungen Wissenschaftlern als zunehmend attraktive Alternative zum traditionellen Publizieren durch Aufsätze erscheinen. Weblogs sind vor allem schneller, und die Blogosphäre verfügt über erstaunlich gut funktionierende informelle, transparente Mechanismen des Prüfens, Diskutierens und Bewahrens, einschlieÃ?lich der kontinuierlichen Entwicklung einer Reputation.

Interessant daran ist, daÃ? ein Massenartikel, der nie in erster Linie fürs wissenschaftliche Publizieren gedacht war, quasi nebenher eine solche attraktive neuartige Publikationsumgebung geschaffen hat. Jeder, der Repositories entwickelt und bewirbt, sollte, ja muÃ? sich heute mit dieser unerwarteten, sich selbst organisierenden, aus standardisierten Billigprodukten zusammengestückten Konkurrenz beschäftigen.

Rosenthal verzichtet übrigens darauf, eine radikal partizipative oder demokratische neue Wissenschaftsöffentlichkeit zu verkünden, sondern argumentiert pragmatisch aus dem Blickwinkel des einzelnen (Nachwuchs-)Wissenschaftlers.

Zu ergänzen wäre vielleicht, daÃ? Weblogs auch als Instrumente des Lehrens und Lernens erstaunlich effektiv sind. Davon ist nicht nur in einschlägigen Weblog-Bejubelungs-Organen wie netbib immer wieder die Rede, sondern zunehmend auch in der E-Learning-Fachöffentlichkeit, übrigens auch im deutschsprachigen Raum. Die Effekte, die sich daraus ergeben, daÃ? sich die selben Billigmedien samt ihrer informell „von unten“ strukturierten Ã?ffentlichkeit sowohl im Bereich des Forschens als auch im Bereich des Lernens bewähren, sind noch gar nicht absehbar und bieten der Blogforschung sicherlich noch ein breites Betätigungsfeld.

Wie gesagt, der komplette Beitrag ist ein Must-Read für alle, die sich mit dem freien wissenschaftlichen Online-Publizieren beschäftigen. Dennoch will ich hier auszugsweise daraus zitieren.

I attended the Workshop on Repositories sponsored by the NSF (US) and the JISC (UK). (…)

In his perceptive position paper for the workshop, Don Waters cites a fascinating paper by Harley et al. entitled „The Influence of Academic Values on Scholarly Publication and Communication Practices“. (…)

Blogs are bringing the tools of scholarly communication to the mass market, and with the leverage the mass market gives the technology, may well overwhelm the traditional forms. (…)

Why would we be surprised that junior faculty and researchers are reluctant to put effort into institutional repositories for no visible benefit except to the institution? More generally, it is likely that as the mechanisms for establishing standing in the field diverge from those for establishing standing in the institution, investment will focus on standing in the field as being more portable, and more likely to be convertible into standing in their next host institution. (…)

(…) I believe the most important (advantage) is sheer speed. John Boyd, the influential military strategist, stressed the importance of accelerating the OODA (Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action) loop. Taking small, measurable steps quickly is vastly more productive than taking large steps slowly, especially when the value of the large step takes even longer to become evident.

(…) Scientists no longer really need arXiv; they can post on their personal web sites and Google does everything else (see Peter Suber), which reinforces my case that mass-market tools will predominate. The only mass-market tool missing is preservation of personal websites, which blog platforms increasingly provide. Almost nothing in the workshop was about speeding up the scholarly process, so almost everything we propose will probably get worked around and become irrelevant.

The second most important factor is error tolerance. The key to Silicon Valley’s success is the willingness to fail fast, often and in public; the idea that learning from failure is more important than avoiding failure. Comments in the workshop about the need for every report to a funding agency to present a success illustrate the problem. If the funding agencies are incapable of hearing about failures they can’t learn much. (…)

What does all this mean for the workshop’s influence on the future?

  • Unless the institutions‘ and agencies‘ efforts are focussed on accelerating the OODA loop in scholarship, they will be ignored and worked-around by a coming generation notorious for its short attention span. No-one would claim that institutional repositories are a tool for accelerating scholarship (…).
  • Academic institutions and funding agencies lack the resources, expertise and mission to compete head-on with mass market tools. Once the market niche has been captured, academics will use the mass market tools unless the productivity gains from specialized tools are substantial. Until recently, there were no mass-market tools for scholarly communication, but that’s no longer true. In this case the mass-market tools are more productive that the specialized ones, not less. Institutions and agencies need to focus on ways to leverage these tools, not to deprecate their use and arm-twist scholars into specialized tools under institutional control.
  • Insititutions and agencies need to learn from John Boyd and Silicon Valley themselves. Big changes which will deliver huge value but only in the long term are unlikely to be effective. Small steps that may deliver a small increment in value but will either succeed or fail quickly are the way to go.
  • Key to effective change are the incentive and reward systems, since they close the OODA loop. The problem for institutions and agencies in this area is that the mass-market tools have very effective incentive and reward systems, based on measuring and monetizing usage. Pay attention to the way Google runs vast numbers of experiments every day, tweaking their systems slightly and observing the results on user’s behavior. (…)

Vgl. auch

Autor: Lambert Heller

Librarian 2.0, interested in knowledge management, publishing and communities on the web. Likes Open Access / Open Data. Hannover, Germany.

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